Co-author Peter Koblowsky, Project Officer – Convening, International Civil Society Centre
A powerful challenge, Leave no one behind, makes the difference between the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While the MDGs could be fulfilled by raising the average wellbeing – which was easiest achieved by ignoring the poorest and most marginalised – the SDGs demand that everybody is included in the effort. And that means, in order to achieve the SDGs we have to place a special focus on those who are most in need, who are most severely excluded. The fact that the new goals are explicitly based on the demand to Leave no one behind is a badge of honour to millions of civil society activists, and thousands of civil society organisations (CSOs), working tirelessly over many years to secure that the SDGs would be fair and inclusive. Implementing this inspiring objective is the impressive global challenge we have to address today.
Against this background, the International Civil Society Centre has conducted a survey among International civil society organisations (ICSOs), mapping their planned strategies and activities with regards to the implementation of the SDGs. The survey should help to identify gaps and overlaps between their approaches as a basis for a better alignment of their efforts. The Centre reached out to 30 leading ICSOs and received replies from 20 of them[i].
At last week’s Global Peers meeting, our bi-annual gathering that brings together a group of around 15 global CEOs from the world’s leading ICSOs, leaders discussed the findings of the survey. They specifically pointed out that civil society participation at all levels and in all areas of SDG implementation is of utmost importance. In this context the fact that governments around the world are curtailing the space for civil society action is a major concern.
The leaders asked the International Civil Society Centre to explore possibilities how their organisations can report jointly on how they are faring with the challenge to Leave no one behind.
[i] Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Amnesty International, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), Care, Caritas, Christian Blind Mission (CBM), ChildFund, Greenpeace, HelpAge, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Plan, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SOS Children’s Villages, Terre des Hommes, Transparency International, Transparency – Africa Regional Office, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), World Vision, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)